Winners of HackManchester, 7digital challenge 2012

Two of our Magento Developers, Daniel Campbell and Matthew Haworth braved the risk of sleep depravity and Red Bull-fuelled hysteria to participate in this year’s HackManchester. They chose the 7Digital challenge, to create the evening’s entertainment using the 7digital API, and won.

HackManchester had 151 hackers from 54 teams. Over the weekend developers submitted 1,226 commits, totalling 3.8 million lines of code!

HackManchester 7digital challenge

The Process



  • Zend Framework 2
  • Doctirine ORM Database
  • PHP Pusher API



  • Twitter Bootstrap
  • MetaFizzy Isotope Javascript Library
  • Javascript Pusher API


Dan and Matt built a fully interactive system with 7digital’s API which allowed partygoers to submit music requests through twitter with the hashtag #hackmanchestermusic and play that music during the HackManchester after-party. The front-end interface needed to constantly update while the back-end churned through data from twitter requests, filtering by rules to validate the users, prevent rickrolling, and repeated songs.

First, they mapped out the logic from beginning to end, making sure they took into account every journey and potential issue. Then they chose the framework and database. Most other teams chose to do the project with Ruby, but from working with Magento day-in and day-out, PHP with the Zend framework was the obvious choice for them. User validation required the use of OAuth1 which caused problems for many of the teams, but Matt and Dan decided to hack the framework to get it working… it is a hackathon after all, right?

Due to the interactive nature of the program, a lot of the logic was happening in the front-end. The javascript isotope library caused some drama towards the end making the page look like a complete mess for at least ten minutes! With seconds to go until the time was up, the isotope fixes finally worked. Using a cron job they were able to get the twitter feed up and running, creating a fully functional front-end.


The End Result: Meet “Socio Fusion”

A real-time collaborative playlist

Our Developers, 7digital winners of HackManchester with Socio Fusion


A hackathon is not for the faint hearted, and what started as a “This will be a laugh!” was followed hours and hours later with “I’m NEVER doing this again!” followed by the joy of winning the challenge. It is rumoured that a few teams buggered off to the casino halfway through, but not our devs!

Congratulations to Matt and Dan!

  • Darryl Adie

    Congratulations guys! :)